Intent just as important as possession

Oil rig worker’s possession of marijuana not a violation of drug policy since he forgot it was in his pocket
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/12/2017

An oil rig worker did not violate his employer’s drug and alcohol policy on drug possession because he forgot there was marijuana in his jeans and didn’t knowingly bring it to work, the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court has ruled.

Michael Noseworthy worked for Magna Services Limited, an oil well equipment and supplies company based in St. John’s, N.L. He worked on an on-call basis and his job involved travelling to offshore installations upon which Magna provided its products and services.

Because the working environment on offshore oil rigs was hazardous, Magna — like other companies in the industry — prohibits illegal drugs or alcohol in offshore locations. It has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy that states “the use, possession, or distribution of an illegal drug, or drug paraphernalia by an employee while on company facility or while performing company business is strictly prohibited.” This included “any detectable amount” of drugs.